Air condensed chillers are the ideal solution for small capacity plants, due to the fact that they don’t involve water consumption and others additional related utilities for water supply and treatment. Furthermore, a water condensed chiller entails more complex plants and a more delicate management.
Water condensation is preferable in case of high capacity plants and in the production of chilled non-freeze solutions at temperatures widely under zero degrees. Excluding the option of costly and not sustainable water consumption coming from a water main network, water condensed chiller have to be combined with evaporative towers, aimed to supply recirculating water feeding the condensers. The evaporative tower also offers a better consumption balance compared to the power consuming fans employed on air condensed chillers.
In addition, during the hot season, ambient air is subject to important temperature variations, considerably affecting the condensation cycle of the chiller, lowering its performances.
In case of water condensed chillers, however, there is also another option, combining an evaporative tower, which provides water supply, with a condenser: these are in fact evaporative condensers, equipped with a coil exchanger in substitution of the filling packs of a cooling tower, cooling by condensation the refrigerating fluid taking advantage of the same evaporating process that characterizes evaporative towers (for further details, see the paragraph dedicated to evaporative condensers in the cooling towers section).
If the choice of an evaporative condenser is a good option in case of big thermal capacity plants, it becomes a forced choice for refrigerating plants over 500/700 KW, and where the dissipation thermal capacity is over 1.000 KW.
These are typically applications in the the ice industry and food and beverage: